Netanyahu Calls for Release of Jonathan Pollard

3

jonathan-pollard[Full text of letter below.] Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu sent a letter today to President Obama, formally asking for the release of Jonathan Jay Pollard, the American sentenced to life in prison in 1987 for spying for Israel in a case that shook U.S.-Israeli relations.

The White House issued a noncommittal response. “We have received the letter and will review it,” said Tommy Vietor, a White House spokesman.

The letter represented a change in Israel’s policy on the case, which Netanyahu and his predecessors had quietly raised with several U.S. administrations, but not through an official and public appeal for clemency. Netanyahu read out the text of his letter at a session of the Knesset.

“Since Jonathan Pollard has now spent 25 years in prison, I believe that a new request for clemency is highly appropriate,” Netanyahu wrote. “I know that this view is also shared by former senior American officials with knowledge of the case, as well as by numerous Members of Congress.”

“Jonathan Pollard has reportedly served longer in prison than any person convicted of similar crimes, and longer than the period requested by the prosecutors at the time of his plea bargain agreement. Jonathan has suffered greatly for his actions and his health has deteriorated considerably.”

Netanyahu wrote that though Israel was “in no way directing its intelligence efforts against the United States” when Pollard was caught in 1985, “its actions were wrong and wholly unacceptable,” and that both Pollard and Israeli governments have repeatedly expressed remorse. “Israel will continue to abide by its commitment that such wrongful actions will never be repeated,” Netanyahu said.

“I know that the United States is a country based on fairness, justice and mercy,” Netanyahu wrote, adding that if clemency were granted “the people of Israel will be eternally grateful.”

Israeli officials said that the decision to make a public and official clemency appeal came in response to a written request from Pollard and after discussions with top U.S. officials had proved unproductive. Netanyahu met last month with Pollard’s wife, Esther, who passed along her husband’s request, and with Lawrence J. Korb, who was assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan administration and supports clemency for Pollard. Korb advised Netanyahu to make the public appeal.

The Central Intelligence Agency has consistently opposed releasing Pollard, as have U.S. law enforcement and intelligence officials who have argued that clemency would show unacceptable leniency toward a spy who had turned over tens of thousands of pages of classified information.

Pollard, who worked for the Navy as a civilian intelligence analyst, began spying for Israel after he met an Israeli officer on leave in the United States in 1984. He was arrested outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington 18 months later and is currently imprisoned in North Carolina.

Israel first dissociated itself from Pollard, saying he was acting in a rogue operation, but he was granted Israeli citizenship in 1995. During Netanyahu’s first term in office in the late 1990s, he officially recognized Pollard as an Israeli agent and later visited Pollard in jail in 2002.

The following is the full text of the letter sent by the Prime Minister:

Dear Mr. President,

On behalf of the people of Israel, I am writing to you to request clemency for Jonathan Pollard.

At the time of his arrest, Jonathan Pollard was acting as an agent of the Israeli government. Even though Israel was in no way directing its intelligence efforts against the United States, its actions were wrong and wholly unacceptable. Both Mr. Pollard and the Government of Israel have repeatedly expressed remorse for these actions, and Israel will continue to abide by its commitment that such wrongful actions will never be repeated.

As you know, Mr. President, I have raised the question of Jonathan Pollard’s release numerous times in discussions with your administration and with previous U.S. administrations. Previous Israeli Prime Ministers and Presidents have also requested clemency for Mr. Pollard from your predecessors.

Since Jonathan Pollard has now spent 25 years in prison, I believe that a new request for clemency is highly appropriate. I know that this view is also shared by former senior American officials with knowledge of the case as well as by numerous Members of Congress.

Jonathan Pollard has reportedly served longer in prison than any person convicted of similar crimes, and longer than the period requested by the prosecutors at the time of his plea bargain agreement. Jonathan has suffered greatly for his actions and his health has deteriorated considerably.

I know that the United States is a country based on fairness, justice and mercy. For all these reasons, I respectfully ask that you favorably consider this request for clemency. The people of Israel will be eternally grateful.

Sincerely yours,

Benjamin Netanyahu

{The Washington Post/Matzav.com}

3 COMMENTS

  1. the fact that each u.s president had the choice to free him and they did not shows that he is privy to certain secret information that the u.s government dont want him to reveal!

  2. please call the white house for pollards release. the more people that call the best chance we’ll have for his release
    CALL1202-456-1414
    baruch ata hashem matir asurim.

  3. Hello AMAZED: Amazing how you came to that conclusion..

    How about the possibility that the STATE DPT has always shown a bias to Israel, feels that Jews are a minority, insignificant—are pro- ARAB, and keeping a JEW behind bars without justified reasoning willNOT ruffle too many feathers.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here